Television

Tara Newz looks for survival strategies

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KOLKATA: TARA (Television Aimed at Regional Audiences) Newz, one of the surviving TV channels of the redundant Saradha Group's media business apart from Tara Muzik, plans to introduce a sponsored slot for sports news sooner to keep the show running, after witnessing hard times few months ago.

“It is a new concept and still is in the planning stage. We are looking at a daily slot of 15 minutes-30 minutes,” says Tara Newz chief reporter Dipankar Nag, speaking exclusively to indiantelevision.com on Monday.

Nag did not mention by when the viewers can watch and enlighten themselves with developments in the sports world.

A Kolkata-based media professional praised the new initiative taken by Tara TV saying that the sports capsule could do well, but long term sustainability is what should be borne in mind. “Tara Newz must look at marketing it nationally,” he says, on the conditions of anonymity.

It is learnt that the company has roped in investments from Kolkata based institutions, which are eager to help the Tara brand in its revival strategy initiative.

The rebirth of the first 24x7 Bengali news channel and music channel-Tara Newz and Tara Muzik respectively deserve special mention.

Many media ventures of the Kolkata headquartered Saradha Group like Sakalbela, The Bengal Post, Azad Hind, Prabhat Varta and the Seven Sisters Post among others closed down after its chit fund went bust.

But the employees of Broadcast Worldwide Limited (BWW) which runs Tara Newz and Tara Muzik, after getting the closure notice from Saradha group, formed an association called ‘Tara TV Employees Welfare Association’ on 16 April 2013, with an aim to keep the channels on air on their own.

“Only two channels of Saradha group could survive. The whole of the city woke up and the fight was not to keep the channels on air, but it was a movement to preserve Bengali culture,” remembers a retired state government official.

TARA reaches out not only to Bengalis in West Bengal and Bangladesh, but to all Bengali speaking people of the world, further elaborates Nag.

Nag, who is the secretary of the Tara TV Employees’ Welfare Association, and who has been entrusted with the responsibility of running the two channels by the Calcutta High Court said that the state government has been giving an ex-gratia payment of Rs16,000 each to the 168 employee of the two channels since the past three months from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. “We get the salary payment by the 28th or 29th of the respective month,” he says.

The two Bengali channels were bought by the Saradha Group in the year 2011 but the licence continued to be in the name of the old owner, says Nag.

Nag clarifies that the state government was planning to take over the management of the channels only; there was no eagerness to buy them.

“The state government provided Rs 26 lakh from the CM's relief fund to run the channels. The government shall not take the liability of the channels which accounts for nearly Rs 6 crore,” confirms Nag.

The employees, knowing that the channels cannot hope to survive on government dole alone, have been trying to bring in advertising revenues, it is learnt.

“We are in almost the same position from where we started our struggle. Only I can say, we, the employees are still fighting to survive with the hope and support of our chief minister Mamata Banerjee,” says Employees’ Association senior general manager-admin and finance and president Indrajit Roy.

Nag adds that “Many financers have shown interest to pump in money.”

If they manage to convert that interest into action, Tara could well once again rise like the evening star.

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